Saturday, 25 June 2011

Shrink Pot Project

I selected a nice straight log of birch for this project that was free from knots and cleaned up the bark to keep the work from becoming dirty. I then selected a nice sized bit, the one shown is an unusual type as the blade sweeps back on itself.

I then used the bit to drill right through the log.
I then drilled a series of holes making sure that I did not have the wood too tightly gripped in the vice as these can put massive amounts of pressure on the timber and split it.

I then cleaned up the log with a sharp knife, some carving chisels and my Ben Orford crook knife.

 with a bit more cleaning up it was then time to cut a grove into the base in which the pot bottom would sit. I marked this out using an old carpenters marking gauge.

This has a little scratch pin on it which marks the wood. I then used this mark to make a grove using a Frosts carving knife, and the Ben Orford crook knife which is a knife with a bent blade that is wonderful for shaping the insides of bowls.

The next job was to select a section of sycamore and split it down with an axe and wooden mallet until I had created a thin board. I then marked it with the shape of the inside and outside of the timber.

It was then a case of carefully cutting the board down until it resembled a thin oyster shape thinner on the edge so it would fit into the grove I had made. It was then a case of gently tapping the base into the end of the Birch tube until it slotted into the grove.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

1: Bosting in Work in Progress

I am asked how actually create the carvings I make so I have decided to put some photographs on my site that show the stages I go through to make a Green Man type carving.
As I take much of my inspiration from carvings I see in buildings a decent quality camera with a good zoom lens is essential. when photographing I take shots from as many angles as I can and when possible with the light coming from different angles as this helps me to interpret depth on the carving. I then use the full face photographs to help to mark up on the timber I am using, in this instance a lovely thick section of Sycamore which was cut green by a local mobile timber mill. I use a grid to mark up the features of the face and then start bosting in, this means roughly cutting into the timber to define the features of the carving

Here you can see the start of the carving with some basic features pencilled in and the nose starting to take shape. If you move the flat of your palm to your face the first feature your hand will touch is your nose, this means that you only need to take a small amount of timber off to create the tip of the nose. I then start to shape the face from that feature, constantly checking any photographic references for accuracy, at this point a piece can get quickly ruined by not thinking about how a face is shaped. I look and feel my own face to understand how the features work together.

This next photograph shows other facial features emerging, eyebrows eye sockets cheeks and a moustache appearing.

Here you can see the starting of the right eye taking shape and how the right brow and cheek are now starting to take form.
I will continue taking photographs throughout the process so If you are interested to see the rest please visit again

Friday, 17 June 2011

Previous Works, The Green Men, Buddha and the Tideswell Wyvern

Many people have been asking to see examples of other carvings I have done so I am putting them on my blog so you can all see.
The photo above is carved from Sycamore and finished with danish oil, I did not follow any particular design as I wanted the piece to look quite natural.

This Carving was one of my first and probably the design I most enjoyed creating. It is based on a Victorian wall tile which can still be seen in Manchester Town Hall I just love the shape and the tongue. This example shows a Green man with fangs which is very unusual. The timber is Lime and again it is finished in Danish oil.

This carving is of a Buddha, I got the inspiration from a plaster book end I purchased I used a contour comb to assist in getting the shaping correct but much of it came down to looking and studying of my own face to get the right effect, the timber is Lime wood and the finish is Danish oil which I use for much of my work.

This Image is again one of my favorites it is of a dragon or wyvern and it represents the devil. This carving comes from The Cathedral in the Peak otherwise known as Tideswell Church in Derbyshire. I managed to obtain a lovely piece of old English oak and carved it mainly using Pfiel brand carving palm tools I think I used a bees wax finish on this carving

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Bodging Balls and Baubles

wow this is me what seems like a age ago now a year older and wiser at the bodgers ball celebrating my third place and surviving the weekend in the smallest wettest tent I have ever had the misfortune to sleep in. I was not kidding when I said i wanted to sleep in the porta loos!

Any how it was a great weekend which started off at Mike Abbotts place as he had just launched a new book on chair making using a Veritas tenon maker and cordless drills This is a shot of his office the lucky bugger!
From what I recall that evening I drank alot of very good quality and stupidly cheap real ale and shared my table with a TV and tax celebrity . I later settled down to the first of my sleeps from hell as the rain started to fall with occasional thunder rumbles.

Saturday was wet and soggy! This is a view from Lower Brockhampton Hall which was a lovely timber framed house on a National Trust Estate in Hereford.
Fortunately by the afternoon it stopped raining and allowed the English style hewers to show how to convert a trunk into a beam.

This is Robin wood much famed for his spoon and bowl making showing off his chopper! a Japanese one at that.
The evening involved a lovely meal and more beer and stupid amounts of beer to wash away the rain which was by now torrential, sadly it did not wash away my tent tho.....

Amazingly the weather cleared up by the afternoon allowing Ben Orford to demonstrate the art of knife sharpening, I got a crook knife as my birthday present to myself and it is quite superb.

The Bird is made from a single piece of willow by Sean Hellerman who is a very clever man he made one in 20 minutes or so and it was very impressive.

This Item was from the competition I don't think it won anything but I just loved the shape and feel of it. The timber is Poplar wood and is very light.

The music stand won best in show.

All in all a fantastic weekend and I cannot wait for next years Ball in Dorset.